Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: bigfun on April 01, 2013, 03:11:52 PM

Title: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: bigfun on April 01, 2013, 03:11:52 PM
For the last 5 years, we've hosted a mother's day brunch at my apartment for my inlaws. This was my idea of a way to contribute something to the family, as MIL hosts all other events. The time is advertised as being 2 hours duration, 10:30 to 12:30. The personnel include:

Me and my husband
My husband's parents
Sometimes, my husband's single brother
My husband's sister, her 2 kids (now ages 4 and 8), and her husband who usually can't attend this holiday due to work

Without my 2 BILs that list would comprise a total of 2 children and 5 adults - typically a manageable ratio.

It's become clear over the years that my inlaws have no plan for supervision of children (man-on-man, or take shifts?) and all the family events end up with kids running wild, whether at our home or our inlaws' home(s). This has become unmanageable for me and I feel like it may be a situation where they just "don't get it". Some folks are comfortable with running in the house while others are not. My husband and I are in the latter category - plus we are childless and don't have a childproofed home.

What I would need for this event to continue is not an arbitrary set of rules like no running in the house, but simply a mandate that there is an adult with each child at all times so they don't end up in my office or our bedroom or closets or high-rise balcony. I don't care who is assigned to whom, just that there is a plan. I would leave judgement calls to the adult in charge. My feeling and experience now is that the concept of supervision will not happen in this particular family.

In the past I've tried to enforce a no running rule, but these children don't respond to me and aren't held to this rule in any other home since they mostly just play at their own home or their grandparents'. My husband has also taken the older kid outside to play when needed, but this doesn't solve the overall problem that we don't have a meeting of the minds between us and his other family members regarding supervisory expectations.

There have been other violations of common sense such as shoed feet on furniture, etc., but I'm focusing on the big picture and not a laundry list of behavioral rules. My sister-in-law will turn a blind eye to any such violations or simply deem them unimportant. I didn't object when I saw the kid(s) putting feet on furniture, which is why I call it a common sense issue and not one of my "specific rules". It simply happens and nobody says a word either way.

My question is: should we tell them the truth or should we just attribute the brunch cancellation to some MacGuffin such as a change in my health, a change in my work schedule, etc.?? (Invites this year haven't gone out yet, so by cancellation I mean the tradition being discontinued.)

I'm planning to ask my husband if he thinks there is any room for tactful negotiation with his family, and depending on the responses here, how to handle whichever decision we make. Thanks for reading!
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Bottlecaps on April 01, 2013, 03:26:02 PM
Safety trumps etiquette, in my opinion. Your home is not childproofed; these children running wild could break something and/or hurt themselves, and the balcony is definitely a no-no for children (not to mention your own personal space such as your bedroom and office). Tell them the truth. The way I would say it is, "While we really enjoy having the Mother's Day brunch here at our place, it's just not safe for the kids to be allowed to run around unsupervised, not to mention the fact that they're allowed to go into our bedroom and office. If no one is willing to supervise them and make sure they behave, then I'm afraid we won't be able to host the brunch this year."

Should you decide to have the brunch, is there any way that you can lock up your bedroom, office, and the balcony so it isn't accessible to the kids? Obviously they will still need to be supervised and prevented from running and acting out in other ways while in your home, but at least then you can have the peace of mind knowing that they kids can't get into your personal space.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: MindsEye on April 01, 2013, 03:28:27 PM
Honestly?  It doesn't sound like you will be able to change your SIL and her kids, and you will probably have no end of frustration if you try. 

So... if you don't want to cancel the brunch altogether or invite only your MIL and FIL rather then the whole family, what about changing the venue?

Can you "host" the brunch at a local park and make it into a picnic?  That way at least you won't have to worry about the kids trashing your apartment while your SIL sits around and ignores the problem!
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Eden on April 01, 2013, 03:34:17 PM
I would either let them know the tradition has been discontinued or try a different approach which is for you to tell the kids they can't go in your office, on the balcony or whatever and if they do not comply ask their parents to make them comply. If their parents refuse, let them know you expect them to enforce the rules of your house and if they can't do that you won't be able to host in the future.

I have many nieces and nephews. Even when supervised some do things of which I do not approve in my home and when that happens, I speak up. I'm not talking about parenting choices here. Just things that put my home, property or privacy at risk of damage. For me that would include feet on things, food and beverage where they should not be, and being in rooms in which they have no reason to be.

Example: my brother and SIL let their young kids walk around with beverages and food (thus the stains all over their furniture.) I guess brother and SIL don't even think about the fact that others may not be okay with that. If I see that I my house, I tell the kids they need to sit at the table with their cups and then my brother picks up on it and enforces it.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: TurtleDove on April 01, 2013, 03:36:35 PM
while your SIL sits around and ignores the problem!

Herein lies the problem, I think.  The SIL does think the way she is parenting is a problem.  To her, she is not ignoring anything.  If you do not approve of her parenting, I don't think it does you much good to tell her that unless there is actual abuse, for example.  You can lay down rules for your household, but since you apparently have not been successful so far I doubt you will be going forward.   I would either accept that the kids will not behave as you would expect them to, or suggest that the events happen in the kids territory (or somewhere other than your place).
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: LadyDyani on April 01, 2013, 03:41:29 PM
Seconding the change of venue suggestion.  Can you have it in the yard?  Does your apartment complex have a party room you can book?
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: LadyL on April 01, 2013, 03:45:38 PM
I suggest having the event outdoors or at a casual restaurant. Not worth the stress to have it in your home.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Kaypeep on April 01, 2013, 03:46:33 PM
I think one adult per kid is kind of unreasonable.  They should be able to play by themselves with little supervision.  It sounds like your home is not conducive to such a visit though if you have breakables and a balcony.  I'd suggest an alternative meeting place.  Perhaps you could offer to bring brunch to your SIL's place, this way she doesn't have the hassle of packing up her kids and travelling to your place with her little army?  Maybe you can pick up your IL's too so your MIL doesn't have to drive, too?
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: bigfun on April 01, 2013, 03:56:53 PM
Our building does have a party room, but it would be a lot of trouble to bring food down for only 7-8 folks and then we'd be back to square one, because they'd be running around a different room that I'd have to clean up and be liable for.

Other venues could include a restaurant with a patio or playground, but then it would cost more for me to host. A good idea though, and maybe the best option.

SIL lives 40 minutes away and I actually work later that day on the other side of town so driving there won't be an option for me.

My home doesn't have a lot of breakables, but a lot of issues I'd never think would come up. Like my nephew turns on a reading light for no reason and this light has a temperamental bulb that falls out sometimes, stuff like that. These kids cannot play by themselves.

To demonstrate the lack of "meeting of the minds", this is what happened in the past with our 19th floor balcony:

Nephew 1: "Can I go out there?"
Grandma: "No, that makes me nervous..."
SIL: "Well, it's OK..."
DH: "What if we had a buddy system where you have to hold an adult's hand?"
Everyone: "Good idea!"
--Kid goes out without holding a hand--
Me: "What about the buddy system?"
SIL: "It's OK, Grandpa's there..."
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Kaypeep on April 01, 2013, 04:01:59 PM
Our building does have a party room, but it would be a lot of trouble to bring food down for only 7-8 folks and then we'd be back to square one, because they'd be running around a different room that I'd have to clean up and be liable for.

Other venues could include a restaurant with a patio or playground, but then it would cost more for me to host. A good idea though, and maybe the best option.

SIL lives 40 minutes away and I actually work later that day on the other side of town so driving there won't be an option for me.

My home doesn't have a lot of breakables, but a lot of issues I'd never think would come up. Like my nephew turns on a reading light for no reason and this light has a temperamental bulb that falls out sometimes, stuff like that. These kids cannot play by themselves.

To demonstrate the lack of "meeting of the minds", this is what happened in the past with our 19th floor balcony:

Nephew 1: "Can I go out there?"
Grandma: "No, that makes me nervous..."
SIL: "Well, it's OK..."
DH: "What if we had a buddy system where you have to hold an adult's hand?"
Everyone: "Good idea!"
--Kid goes out without holding a hand--
Me: "What about the buddy system?"
SIL: "It's OK, Grandpa's there..."

In light of this update, I'd suggest celebrating Mother's Day on a day other than MD if that day is problematic, but still find a plan where you get together someplace that is NOT your apartment. 
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: TurtleDove on April 01, 2013, 04:03:14 PM
bigfun, I think you need to accept that you are not in charge of the parenting of these kids.  If you are concerned for your possessions, your best option is to not host them.  A mother saying it is okay to be on the balcony is going to trump an aunt/uncle/grandparent saying otherwise.  I am not saying your desires for the behavior of children in your home are wrong.  I am saying that based on the dynamic you have described, your desires are not likely to be met.

As other posters have stated, in my experience, children of the ages you described should be able able to play together with minimal supervision (or at least not the type of supervision you demand).  I am not saying you are wrong to want what you want in your house.  I am saying that you are setting yourself up for failure.

I haven't seen your balcoy, but I would imagine that it is up to code which would mean there should not be any real safery hazards for children to be on it. Especially not if an adult is supervising.  If you don't want the kids on your balcony, by all means ban them.  But don't say it's about safety when the mother of the kids thinks it is okay for them to be on balcony.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: sweetonsno on April 01, 2013, 04:13:52 PM
I'm on board with the general consensus that if that part of the family is unwilling to respect you and your space, there is no need for you to host. Don't host the brunch at your home, but I wouldn't "cancel" it so much as replace it with something else. The picnic is a nice idea (if the weather permits), or you could take MIL out for tea or dinner. I'm not sure how the kids behave at restaurants ("nice" or otherwise), but if their parents keep them on a tighter leash in public, perhaps you could include that part of the family there.

The benefit of changing the ritual (rather than canceling it) is that you may not need to explain why you made a switch. However, if you are pressed, you can present it as being for the benefit of the kids rather than a criticism of them. You can say that the park will give them lots of space to play and run around without mentioning that you hate the fact that they do it in your apartment.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: bigfun on April 01, 2013, 04:18:23 PM
Just to clarify, I'm not expecting North Korean minders for these kids, just that an adult is watching. The adult in charge (whoever that is, that's the problem) can decide what's safe. We never can tell who's in charge when we're at Grandma and Grandpa's and the default is that the kids have carte blanche.

Thanks for the suggestions, that helps a lot!
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 01, 2013, 04:23:50 PM
I think it is reasonable to establish your house rules
- no running in the house
- no kids on the balcony
- no one in your bedrooms...lock the door
- no turning on lamps

And then you and your DH enforce the rules. It is completely within your right to tell any guest you don't want them in your bedroom, on your balcony or running in your home.

At the next event, make it easy hosting so that you and DH are available to stop behavior you don't want in your home. 

Child starts running, say "nephew, we don't allow running in ours house. Please walk." Physically restrain if he doesn't stop with a hand on his shoulder.

When nephew asks "can I go out on the balcony?" you or your DH immediately respond, "No, I don't want you out there." If his mother says, "oh it's o.k." respond "no, I'm not comfortable having him out there."

If you see a child touching something, say "Please leave that alone. SIL, can you find child a toy to play with so they aren't playing with the tv remote control."

Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Eden on April 01, 2013, 04:37:08 PM
To demonstrate the lack of "meeting of the minds", this is what happened in the past with our 19th floor balcony:

Nephew 1: "Can I go out there?"
Grandma: "No, that makes me nervous..."
SIL: "Well, it's OK..."
DH: "What if we had a buddy system where you have to hold an adult's hand?"
Everyone: "Good idea!"
--Kid goes out without holding a hand--
Me: "What about the buddy system?"
SIL: "It's OK, Grandpa's there..."

It sounds like in your scenario the kid was supervised but you still weren't okay with it? I may be reading too much into it but it sort of sounds like you're nervous around children in general and are maybe muddying the waters between what is okay as far as protecting your house and what you're comfortable with for the kids' activities/safety (which is really more of their parents' call in my opinion).

I do think a different venue or declining to host this year are the best options.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: katycoo on April 01, 2013, 05:26:59 PM
Can you host it somewhere outside - in the backyard or a nearby park?
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: bigfun on April 01, 2013, 05:40:51 PM
We have tried to enforce all of Hmmmmm's suggestions and they didn't work. 8 year old nephew ran, I gently restrained him and explained about no running and he didn't acknowledge me. SIL said "here, I'll get him" and then no follow-up. Nothing happened. Like I said, they don't get it. All 3 of us were uncomfortable after this.

Eden, the point of the balcony anecdote is lots of times there are some opinions, some are listened to and others are ignored. DH and I tried to establish the "buddy rule" on the balcony as a way to appease my MIL (the guest of honor) and it was disregarded. If SIL OKs a behavior, that's up to her, but she doesn't make a judgement call for every little thing they may or may not get into. Just as often there are no opinions and kids go running, and nobody says anything or chases them down.

We tried the brunch, it didn't work, it's time to move on. We will just host at a restaurant and work something out with the server that food is on us, but drinkers can start their own tab to keep our costs down. Thank you guys for the help!
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 01, 2013, 05:57:39 PM
We have tried to enforce all of Hmmmmm's suggestions and they didn't work. 8 year old nephew ran, I gently restrained him and explained about no running and he didn't acknowledge me. SIL said "here, I'll get him" and then no follow-up. Nothing happened. Like I said, they don't get it. All 3 of us were uncomfortable after this.

Eden, the point of the balcony anecdote is lots of times there are some opinions, some are listened to and others are ignored. DH and I tried to establish the "buddy rule" on the balcony as a way to appease my MIL (the guest of honor) and it was disregarded. If SIL OKs a behavior, that's up to her, but she doesn't make a judgement call for every little thing they may or may not get into. Just as often there are no opinions and kids go running, and nobody says anything or chases them down.

We tried the brunch, it didn't work, it's time to move on. We will just host at a restaurant and work something out with the server that food is on us, but drinkers can start their own tab to keep our costs down. Thank you guys for the help!

I think it's probably best. When dealing with kids you have to constantly tell them over and over and stay on top of them.  On Sunday I Had to tell my 3 yr old niece 3 times to not throw leaves into the pool. After the third time I picked her up and delivered a screaming child to her father. He kept her inside for about 10 minutes. She came back outside, looked straight at me and picked up more leaves. I told her if she threw them she wouldn't be allowed in my back yard for the rest of the day. She decided it best to put them back down. I went in a little later and DH caught her immediately starting with throwing stuff in the pool. He carried her in and delivered her screaming to her mom with instructions that she wasn't allowed outside for the rest of the afternoon.

Even though other adults were outside, they didn't see an issue with leaves being thrown into the pool because they aren't the ones cleaning it. It didn't dawn on any of them stop her. DH and I know there are certain rules that we have to monitor when kids are visiting.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Gondwanaland on April 01, 2013, 06:20:40 PM
To Hmmmm, I'd be more concerned about the 3yo possibly falling in the pool, than worrying about a few leaves.  Are you saying that a 3yo was left outside alone with an uncovered or unfenced swimming pool.  Perhaps next time that happens you could draw  the parents attention to the amount of deaths each year of toddlers and children in unsupervised backyard pools.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: TootsNYC on April 01, 2013, 06:38:10 PM
Our building does have a party room, but it would be a lot of trouble to bring food down for only 7-8 folks and then we'd be back to square one, because they'd be running around a different room that I'd have to clean up and be liable for.

Other venues could include a restaurant with a patio or playground, but then it would cost more for me to host. A good idea though, and maybe the best option.

SIL lives 40 minutes away and I actually work later that day on the other side of town so driving there won't be an option for me.

My home doesn't have a lot of breakables, but a lot of issues I'd never think would come up. Like my nephew turns on a reading light for no reason and this light has a temperamental bulb that falls out sometimes, stuff like that. These kids cannot play by themselves.

To demonstrate the lack of "meeting of the minds", this is what happened in the past with our 19th floor balcony:

Nephew 1: "Can I go out there?"
Grandma: "No, that makes me nervous..."
SIL: "Well, it's OK..."
DH: "What if we had a buddy system where you have to hold an adult's hand?"
Everyone: "Good idea!"
--Kid goes out without holding a hand--
Me: "What about the buddy system?"
SIL: "It's OK, Grandpa's there..."

YOU need to decide. And speak up. And say a rule. Your house rule.

Children may not be on the balcony until they are old enough to drive. Period. Sorry, SIL, bu that's my house rule. No, I'm sorry, but it doesn't matter if YOU don't mind. *I* mind, and it's my house rule.

I also tend to speak directly to the kids. "Please don't get your shoes on the sofa. It can get marks on it, and I cannot put it in the washing machine because it won't fit."

"I don't allow people to have food in the living room until they are old enough to get their driver's license. You'll have to eat in here. Or I'll take the food away, I'm sorry. No, SIL and MIL, this is my house rule to protect my own belongings. Junior can sit here at the dining room table."

But it sounds like the kids are also bored out of their minds.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Gondwanaland on April 01, 2013, 06:48:44 PM
I agree with TootsNYC that the kids are bored.  2 hours sitting at a table is unrealistic for a 4yo. 

However you do need to reinforce the houserules suitable for you.  No balcony, no office, no bedroom. 

I think its time though to move the gathering to a different venue.   I've seen the most houseproud people do a complete 360degree when their own little darlings come along and suddenly anything goes.

If the childrens behaviour worries you then you are the one who needs to be proactive.  Either enforces rules (kindly) or choose an alternative venue.  As it stands I doubt you will get any backup from either the parents or the grandparents.


Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: bigfun on April 01, 2013, 06:59:19 PM
I appreciate the concern for the kids' boredom, but we never sat at the table for more than 15 minutes. We have bent over backwards playing Wii with these kids, taking them outside, providing coloring books when they were younger - it's just not enough. We can't be full-time babysitters and provide food and drink while the parents are grandparents do nothing. If the toys or activities we provided aren't entertaining for them, then their parents need to bring an alternative and hold their attention to it to make sure they don't use the apartment as a "toy". I'm not that insensitive of a host!

The main problem, as was pointed out, is the lack of back-up when trying to enforce any rule at all. My only dilemma now is how to explain the change in venue, which previous posters have explained just saying "it's better for the kids and everyone to be able to spread out". Thanks y'all!
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: doodlemor on April 01, 2013, 07:18:15 PM
You are wise to move the brunch out of your apartment, bigfun.  It sounds like these children are quite unaccustomed to following directions, and respecting adults.

8 year old nephew ran, I gently restrained him and explained about no running and he didn't acknowledge me.

This is pretty classic behavior for kids who aren't taught to follow rules.  I suspect that he didn't look at you, either, when you spoke to him.

Your home, your rules.  You are very generous for putting up with this as long as you have.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: delabela on April 01, 2013, 07:47:14 PM
I appreciate the concern for the kids' boredom, but we never sat at the table for more than 15 minutes. We have bent over backwards playing Wii with these kids, taking them outside, providing coloring books when they were younger - it's just not enough. We can't be full-time babysitters and provide food and drink while the parents are grandparents do nothing. If the toys or activities we provided aren't entertaining for them, then their parents need to bring an alternative and hold their attention to it to make sure they don't use the apartment as a "toy". I'm not that insensitive of a host!

The main problem, as was pointed out, is the lack of back-up when trying to enforce any rule at all. My only dilemma now is how to explain the change in venue, which previous posters have explained just saying "it's better for the kids and everyone to be able to spread out". Thanks y'all!

Well, and you can always use having to work later in the day as a reason to move it - you might not have time to clean/set up/take down/etc. 

I'm a parent and I would be uncomfortable with the behavior you describe, particularly your SIL not addressing it - in my family, if the house rules are more strict than my 'normal' rules, we go by the house rules. 
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: AnnaJ on April 01, 2013, 07:54:56 PM
To Hmmmm, I'd be more concerned about the 3yo possibly falling in the pool, than worrying about a few leaves.  Are you saying that a 3yo was left outside alone with an uncovered or unfenced swimming pool.  Perhaps next time that happens you could draw  the parents attention to the amount of deaths each year of toddlers and children in unsupervised backyard pools.

There were obviously adults there - the OP, her husband, and presumable other people who were watching the child throwing things into the pool, so I can understand the concern about what the child was doing rather than the fact she was near the pool.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Craftymom on April 01, 2013, 08:39:07 PM
Let's set aside the getting into things indoors and running for a moment...

Did I read that clearly? 19 floors up?! :o
I cannot honestly believe that any parent would not fully support the "buddy system" that OP and her DH tried to set up.

I would change the venue immediately, if not sooner OP.  Kids that young, active and not used to following directions are likely to get outside unsupervised and potentially fall. To me, it would be worth the added cost financially to not have to worry about one or the other of my unruly nephews taking a header off the balcony. Until they are at a more settled, mature age, I would not hold ANY family visits/celebrations at my home (where that part of the family would expect to attend). Until, perhaps 10-12 years down the road...
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: gramma dishes on April 01, 2013, 09:22:03 PM
Let's set aside the getting into things indoors and running for a moment...

Did I read that clearly? 19 floors up?! :o
I cannot honestly believe that any parent would not fully support the "buddy system" that OP and her DH tried to set up.

I would change the venue immediately, if not sooner OP.  Kids that young, active and not used to following directions are likely to get outside unsupervised and potentially fall. To me, it would be worth the added cost financially to not have to worry about one or the other of my unruly nephews taking a header off the balcony. Until they are at a more settled, mature age, I would not hold ANY family visits/celebrations at my home (where that part of the family would expect to attend). Until, perhaps 10-12 years down the road...

Yes.  I totally agree with this.  I've been out on balconies lower than that and have been terrified to even look down.  Unless it is totally surrounded by full height plexiglass or something, I would NEVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS allow a child out there and I wouldn't care one bit that his own mother didn't mind. I'd mind. 
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: BarensMom on April 01, 2013, 11:46:13 PM
I was wondering when someone would notice that the balcony is 19 floors up. 

It's too bad that when SIL said "it's okay" to the kid being on the balcony, you didn't say, "Okay, then please sign this waiver."
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: TurtleDove on April 02, 2013, 05:18:15 AM
I am not grasping why the balcony being 19 floors up makes it more dangerous.  Either the balcony is safe, or it isn't. I wouldn't let anyone out on an unsafe balcony, and I don't understand why this particular balcony is unsafe for people not holding hands?
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Craftymom on April 02, 2013, 06:05:20 AM
The balcony itself is probably perfectly safe, for normal, responsible people...

It is adding 2 fast-moving children who appear to not have any sense of boundaries, nor any effective parental supervision that renders it unsafe.

All it would take is one or both to slip out there and any youthful miscalculation/roughhousing/dare and there is a kid over the side.

For me, the ONLY way I would continue to allow this part of the family to visit is if I installed a deadbolt on the patio door (if possible to do so). This is dependent on whether the door is a standard type door or a slider door. You would then install the deadbolt in reverse, so that a key is required to go out, (as concerns over having thefts due to the twisty part being outside are pretty negated being so high up) then just not produce the key to/for those visitors.

You can tell them if asked, that you just aren't comfortable having people out there. If they don't like it, they don't have to come over.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: bigfun on April 02, 2013, 07:41:21 AM
OP here. Grandpa uses the balcony to smoke, so it was definitely not off limits. Did I have an essay prepared on why the balcony isn't ok for kids? No, we decided to handle things as they came up. Unfortunately it took us 5 years to realize that common sense was thin on the ground.

Kids on the balcony in theory didn't upset me as much as the fact that we couldn't get a clear consensus from the powers that be on how to handle it. The balcony parable is indicative of MIL and SIL's dynamic and inability to make a judgement call. There are so many variables with kids that I never could have imagined, that without a clear and authoritative point of view, it just became not worth it for my nerves alone not to mention my liability.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: bopper on April 02, 2013, 07:51:44 AM
Kids run around because they are bored.  Can you give them something else to do?  Watch a video? Coloring books (with those Crayola Wonder no mess markers, perhaps)? Bubbles?

As far as the balcony, lock it.  Tell grandpa if he is out there smoking, he is in charge of any kids out there. Otherwise he needs to lock the balcony.  Tell the parents that grandpa is in charge of supervising the balcony and if they aren't comfortable with that, then they need to keep their kids off it or supervise themselves. 
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: TootsNYC on April 02, 2013, 09:46:49 AM
OP here. Grandpa uses the balcony to smoke, so it was definitely not off limits. Did I have an essay prepared on why the balcony isn't ok for kids? No, we decided to handle things as they came up. Unfortunately it took us 5 years to realize that common sense was thin on the ground.

Kids on the balcony in theory didn't upset me as much as the fact that we couldn't get a clear consensus from the powers that be on how to handle it. The balcony parable is indicative of MIL and SIL's dynamic and inability to make a judgement call. There are so many variables with kids that I never could have imagined, that without a clear and authoritative point of view, it just became not worth it for my nerves alone not to mention my liability.

Here's the thing: In your house, YOU are "the power that is."

And so you state your rules and enforce them. If the kids' parent(s) object(s), you say, "I'm sorry, but these are my rules. If you won't enforce them, I will. This is my home, and I do not allow anyone to put their shoes on the furniture or go out on the balcony if they're under 16. Please respect my home."

And if they don't, then you put the food away and say, "It's a shame, but we'll have to wrap this up now."

(though I totally think you're smart to just move the celebration elsewhere)
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: doodlemor on April 02, 2013, 10:53:25 AM
Here is another awful thought about the balcony.  Children that naughty might decide to throw things off and could hurt people.

I think that you are wise to just move the party, or plead your work schedule and just not do it.  It sounds like you have dealt with a great deal of unnecessary aggravation and stress over the last few years.  It doesn't sound as if the family dynamics will change, either.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: TurtleDove on April 02, 2013, 11:05:54 AM
Children that naughty might decide to throw things off and could hurt people.


Honestly, I have not seen any evidence that these kids are naughty at all.  From what the OP has said, they are simply kids.  I grasp that she is not okay with their behavior, but it's not like they are torturing animals or doing anything that kids don't typically do. Not all people, or even all parents, have the same rules or expectations for their children, but that does not make kids naughty. For example, at my house, it is absolutely okay for my daughter to put her feet on the couch.  Not when her shoes are muddy, but assuming she's wearing slippers or just regular shoes, I don't think it is a big deal.  My DD is not naughty, it simply isn't viewed as wrong by some people.

The OP can set rules for her home, absolutely, but labeling these kids as "naughty" seems really over the top.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: turnip on April 02, 2013, 11:13:57 AM
It does sound like you shouldn't have these kids at your place anymore.   I understand what some posters are saying about 'your home, your rules', but if no one else is going to back up you and your husband then it sounds like you would need to spend every minute policing these children.   I like kids and I'm pretty lax on rules in my home ( shoes on the couch are fine with me ) but I wouldn't be able to be a good host, or a happy host, if I felt I was responsible for making sure two children didn't fall off a balcony or into a pool. 

I would probably skirt the edge of honestly if asked for reasons - 'Oh, we just feel like our place is too small for two active children', or something like that.  That way, if pressed, you could try again to get some support from your in-laws.  "We can try hosting at our place again, but we will really need your help making sure the kids stay safe and out of trouble".   
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 02, 2013, 11:33:14 AM
Children this young are incredibly fast and wily.  Even if the balcony meets all safety standards children are amazingly quick to figure out a way to do what they want.  Example:  when DH and I were first married we lived in an apartment building that was six stories high.  One afternoon we noticed a little girl (about 4 years old) climbing the rail of the balcony of the fifth floor apartment (we were on the first floor).  Apparently she wanted to "pat" a pigeon that had alighted on the edge of the balcony.  Her parents were just inside the door.  We started shouting "Stop! Stop! Go back!".  Her mother came out and grabbed her off.  Had we not been outside at the time I shudder to think what may have happened.

OP, if SIL and Grandma won't enforce the rules I think it best to move it to another location.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: LilacGirl1983 on April 02, 2013, 11:46:51 AM

[/quote]

It sounds like in your scenario the kid was supervised but you still weren't okay with it? I may be reading too much into it but it sort of sounds like you're nervous around children in general and are maybe muddying the waters between what is okay as far as protecting your house and what you're comfortable with for the kids' activities/safety (which is really more of their parents' call in my opinion).

I do think a different venue or declining to host this year are the best options.
[/quote]

I guess I am going to have to disagree with that statement. It sounds like she is trying to set limits but the parents and kids are brushing them off. What she wants is really common sense for most parents with kids. IE no running in the house (safety) no playing with things off limits (safety) no one on the balcony (Safety) and staying out of personal areas (boundries). It sounds like the parent doesn't respect her rules or wishes by stating after she said she prefered not to have them on the balcony that it was ok..as for needing minimal supervision these kids have proven they need more then that..just because they should only need that doesn't mean that they don't need more since kids are different..

I would recommend doing it at a park. Maybe one that has a grill or something so maybe doing a BBQ or something like that. Also if you do change venues make sure you aren't held liable if the children break something...if its a park let mom/dad chase them instead of you worrying about their safety. Also for that many adults there should be someone there that can watch over them that aren't you..I would expect the parents or grandparents to watch them if the parents aren't.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: gramma dishes on April 02, 2013, 11:55:21 AM
Bigfun ~~  I think you and your husband have made the right decision by moving the venue to some place other than your home. 

I admire you for your patience and perseverance in sticking with hosting in your own home this long!  I'm pretty sure I couldn't have.  I'd have probably just stopped hosting this group all together.  And if they had asked why I would have told them.  You're taking a much more mature way to get around it.  As I said, I commend you.    :)

Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: TootsNYC on April 02, 2013, 11:57:24 AM
I just keep thinking of an 8-y-o running inside an apartment!
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 02, 2013, 04:11:33 PM
To Hmmmm, I'd be more concerned about the 3yo possibly falling in the pool, than worrying about a few leaves.  Are you saying that a 3yo was left outside alone with an uncovered or unfenced swimming pool.  Perhaps next time that happens you could draw  the parents attention to the amount of deaths each year of toddlers and children in unsupervised backyard pools.

Niece wasn't unsupervised. There were 6-8 adults there, including me which is why I was able to tell her 3 times to stop throwing things in a pool. I also mention in the last sentence of my post that there were other adults present but wouldn't recognize a problem with a pool full of leaves.

Would you let me know what I put in my post made you think you'd need to inquire whether my family would leave a 3 year outside alone, let alone un-supervised near a pool? I'd hate to give others that impression.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Gondwanaland on April 02, 2013, 06:57:49 PM
To Hmmmmm, I have reread your post and yes you did say there were other adults around, but NOT her parents.  Were these other people watching out for the 3yo.    I would never have let my 3yo wander around a pool without my supervision or her father.  I think its a bit much to expect other people to be responsible for my child.  Other people can become involved in conversations and distracted, it only takes a minute for a child to drown.  Anyway I was not implying you were at fault.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: CakeEater on April 03, 2013, 03:41:00 AM
Children that naughty might decide to throw things off and could hurt people.


Honestly, I have not seen any evidence that these kids are naughty at all.  From what the OP has said, they are simply kids.  I grasp that she is not okay with their behavior, but it's not like they are torturing animals or doing anything that kids don't typically do. Not all people, or even all parents, have the same rules or expectations for their children, but that does not make kids naughty. For example, at my house, it is absolutely okay for my daughter to put her feet on the couch.  Not when her shoes are muddy, but assuming she's wearing slippers or just regular shoes, I don't think it is a big deal.  My DD is not naughty, it simply isn't viewed as wrong by some people.

The OP can set rules for her home, absolutely, but labeling these kids as "naughty" seems really over the top.

Yes, I agree.

I'm perfectly fine with my kids running through my house. I wouldn't let them do it somewhere else unless that family were fine with it as well, but they're not naughty to be running in the house at home.

Same with feet on the couch, or food away from the table.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 03, 2013, 08:32:48 AM
To Hmmmmm, I have reread your post and yes you did say there were other adults around, but NOT her parents.  Were these other people watching out for the 3yo.    I would never have let my 3yo wander around a pool without my supervision or her father.  I think its a bit much to expect other people to be responsible for my child.  Other people can become involved in conversations and distracted, it only takes a minute for a child to drown.  Anyway I was not implying you were at fault.
Rusty, your family dynamic is very different from ours. As home owners with a pool, we take responsibility for any children in our back yard to make sure they are well supervised. My two teens are also well trained in acquatic life saving and also take responsibility for monitoring activity around our pool. Additonally, the childs grandmother and other aunt was out there and if anything there is over supervision. Our family knows that if they send a child outside with any of us, it will be well supervised and they are free to remain inside. 

Has a child ever accidently fallen into our pool.  Yes, but it happened when his father was sitting beside him helping him play with an electronic boat and they both reached over the side too far to pick it up. So in my experience having parent present does not equal safety for child, especially one that is uncomfortable or knowledgeable about pool safety. As the pool owner I never assume a parent will adequately supervise their child around my pool unless I know that parent well and have seen how they manage and monitor their children in my back yard.

I would have the same reaction to having the balcony that the OP in this story has. It's my house and my responsibility to make sure that everyone is safe and I would never assume the parent of a child would recognize the dangers that could occur with a child on a balcony. Therefore I would establish my own rules for either not allowing children on the balcony or having one of my family members who did undestand the dangers always present when a child is on the balcony. 

I still think you leaped to an interesting assumption considering I stated that I was monitoring the childs activities well enough to catch her throwing items into a pool. 
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Gondwanaland on April 03, 2013, 06:16:13 PM
To Hmmmmm, well we will just have to agree to differ on the subject of leaving a 3yo without parental supervision in the vicinity of a swimming pool.   I wouldn't care if Michael Phelps was a guest, I or the other parent would be there.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: *inviteseller on April 03, 2013, 06:37:34 PM
I think, in most cases, parents trump aunts/uncles/grandparents, but if the parents aren't parenting and overriding house rules when visiting it is problematic.  Example, when we go to my parents house, my kids, who are pretty well behaved, always liked to play with Grandmas' statues and figurines she has dotted here and there.  I wasn't in the room but heard my dad tell my then 3 yr old DD she wasn't allowed to touch, just look.  I did not override my dad's rule because it was his house, his possessions and he had the right to say that could not be played with.  If OP says no running in the house and no unsupervised kids on that high of a balcony, then the parents, as a visitor, should also enforce that rule.  Just because you let your kids run in your house or climb on furniture, does not mean that everyone wants that in their house.  OP, if you choose to keep hosting, I would go into broken record mode until they either follow YOUR house rules or they quit coming because their kids should never be told no.
Title: Re: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK
Post by: Emmy on April 03, 2013, 07:28:18 PM
I do think the OP should cancel or move the location of the party.  Being that you aren't the child's parent, the best you can do is try to explain the rules to them or bring them to their mother when they don't listen to the rules.  However, it sounds as if SIL is happy to just let them run wild.  I doubt making your rules clear will change her or the children's behavior.  I have kids and feel the same way you do.  You are in an awkward position, the kids are in your home acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable, but because you are not the parent, you can't enforce rules or punish them for not behaving.  The best you could do is end the party, but I feel it would be best to avoid the stress altogether.